The late whiplash syndrome: a study of an illness in Australia and Singapore

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1982 Jun;6(2):191-210. doi: 10.1007/BF00051428.


A condition commonly seen after motor vehicle accidents, the Late Whiplash Syndrome, which is defined as a collection of symptoms and disabilities seen more than six months after a neck injury occurring in a motor vehicle accident, is examined in a series of 300 cases. The author suggests that the development of the Late Whiplash Syndrome, some of whose characteristics are viewed as illness and some as illness behavior, depends on social variables. The differential distribution in Western countries and in Singapore is related to sanctions against entry into the sick role associated with this type of injury which are present in countries such as Singapore. Conversely, motor vehicle injury is legitimized in Western Countries such as Australia as an historical overview shows. The author's model of the Late Whiplash Syndrome lends itself to generalizations about the development of social illness in different cultures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm Injuries / etiology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Australia
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Medical
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries
  • Sick Role*
  • Singapore
  • Syndrome
  • Whiplash Injuries / etiology
  • Whiplash Injuries / psychology*